Louisiana: Chaos Expected For New School Term

YOU’RE ALL WONDERING if there’s any news out of Louisiana regarding their anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism legislation — the recently enacted (and misleadingly named) “Louisiana Science Education Act.” That’s the law, signed by creationist governor Bobby Jindal, which authorizes the use of unspecified “supplementary materials” [wink, wink] for teaching evolution in state-run science classes.

From the Times-Picayune, in a feature called BRIEFING BOOK, News and views from the Louisiana Capitol, one of the items there is “Science guidelines,” and that’s where we find our update.

The original is one big paragraph, so we’ll break it up to make it easier to read (and also to slip in our commentary):

Louisiana public schools are almost certain to start classes this month before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education develops rules and regulations for the newly enacted Science Education Act.

Isn’t this wonderful? The kiddies will soon be going back to school, and no one knows what the rules are. Uncertainty breeds chaos. What a state!

We’ve previously reported about this board, because we had a tip that they were about to take some meaningful action: Louisiana Science Education: Is There Any Hope? Now it appears that we may have been wrong.

Back to the article:

The law allows local school boards to approve supplemental material for science teachers as they present lessons on evolutionary biology and global warming, among other topics. The state school board has the authority to ban certain materials, a power that critics of the bill hope will keep discussions of biblical creation and intelligent design out of the public school science curriculum.

That’s their system. Local boards can approve “supplemental material” and the state board can ban such material. The battleground is starting to shape up. It’s going to be an interesting year.

BESE [Board of Elementary and Secondary Education] President Linda Johnson said she expects the board to adopt specific policies by the end of the calendar year. Johnson said her priority is to keep the state Department of Education out of court.

Good luck with that!

She added that she does not believe the legislation gives the state power to require local school boards to notify the state of what materials are approved at the local level. She said she would like to see the state board publish a list of recommended materials.

Doesn’t Louisiana already have approved textbooks? So what’s the plan? The same people who made the approved textbook list are now going to develop a separate list of approved “supplementary materials”? The creationists who supported and voted for this new bill won’t like that.

The board’s additional tasks, she said, will be to consider the protests of individuals or groups that oppose some action of a local board.

It’s going to be a busy year for that board. This story has just begun. Stay tuned to this blog.

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